Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Maple Building


The Maple Building, the old elementary school in Shepherd, Mich., was being torn down.

When I arrived on scene I took my typical construction photos and I knew if I waited long enough somebody would pass to stop and look at what was going on.

It was cold, but I was dressed warm and I was set on coming back to the office with something different.

I remembered a similar conversation when I was in college and a fellow photograph had to photograph an apartment which had been vandalized with spray painted swastikas.

He came back with a generic photo of stair case and spray painted swastikas. Brett Marshall's reaction was, "Where is the little girl jump roping."

I posted early about waiting. Persistence and patients always pay off.

It's not perfect, but it feel victorious.

All three photos took an hour of waiting and happened within about five minutes of each other.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Finding the drive and making the fight


I can't believe I'm already a month into the new year.

I seem to be fighting all kinds of battles.

My days run together working the night shift. At times it can be a daunting task to find the motivation to wake, rinse, drag yourself to work for three or four hours of sun light, enter a dark gym, leave to a dark parking lot, edit, caption, tone, then to leave work knowing not only is it dark, but also freezing cold.

This all leads me to my next topic. I shoot basketball everyday and sometimes I cover two games. A college photographer asked why I was leaving a Central Michigan University game early and it got me thinking about how drastically different my life is from a year ago.

Being at a college newspaper you print three times a week and you maybe shoot three or four assignments a week. You have a rough web deadline and you pretty much do things at your pace.

It's great in theory to want to shoot an entire game, but there are many reasons it's not always applicable at a daily.

  • Web first - Despite what you want to do or know will produce the best content your editor and bosses know differently and they have expectation you have to meet.
  • Deadlines - Much like the first point other people (page designers) are waiting for you so they can do their job. They have friends and most importantly families.
  • People - Not everyone understands you or what you do. They have families which are more important than their jobs, whether you think it's fair or not. To many it's about the paycheck.
  • Real world - It's not college. You have three assignments a day instead of three a week. "Don't forget video," they politely remind you, so make that four. Your a staff of few instead of many. The reality is it's not feasible and you have to budget your time properly. You learn what to and what not to spend your time on.

All of this brings me to a final point.

Pick and choose your battles.

Not everyone you work with is as dedicated as you. So choose what you fight for wisely. Otherwise you alienate yourself and are labeled a with giant asshole target.

This doesn't mean you give up and give in. This means you lead by example. You show others you care and use your passion to motivate them. Instead of being the complaining gnat, be the caterpillar. Cheesy, yes, but little by little you achieve change. As others see the greatness in your work they will be inspired to do the same. They will also be inspired if they see you getting a pay raise.

The truth is you have to change your game plan sometimes. Instead of spending three hours on basketball, spend one. Spend the other two working on real projects and finding features. When the big games comes the editors will understand and take full advantage of it.

It's all a game.

Pick your battles, plan accordingly, do the right things, control the tempo, attack and you'll sometimes win.